Will Edmonton Oilers Change Draft Strategy with Renney Now at Helm?
Today we were given news that Pat Quinn would not be at the helm come next season, instead becoming a Senior Hockey Adviser, a position similar to that of Scotty Bowman in Chicago.
With less than one week until the Entry Draft, an historic one if you're an Oilers fan, this move begs the question as to whether or not the Oilers draft strategy will change with Renney now being in charge.
We know a few things about Renney from his days with New York and Vancouver. We know he preaches a defensive style of hockey similar to that of Craig MacTavish, except with a more aggressive forecheck.
We know he prefers his forwards play into the "left wing lock" style in which the left winger acts almost as a third defenseman on the ice.
We know he endears himself to his players, and that they for the most part enjoy playing for him.
Another thing we know is that he can, and may even prefer, handle European players.
With those things in mind, does Steve Tambellini change his draft strategy to suit the requirements of Renney's systems? Two names to keep in mind come Friday are Riley Sheahan and Kirill Kabanov.
With the 31st overall selection, the Oilers could very easily trade into the first round if they so choose. Sheahan would be a great fit in Renney's system. He is defensively responsible, a good skater and buys into the two-way game Renney preaches. If he is available at pick 23, a potential trade could surface between Edmonton and Buffalo centered around Sheldon Sourray, pick No. 31, and pick No. 23.
Kabanov is the ultimate risk/reward in this draft, with the same talent as Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin but with far more question marks. Tom Renney has never shied away from European players, and relied heavily on them during his tenure with New York. Renney is the type of coach who can will his players to succeed, and may be the best coach for a player as enigmatic as Kabanov.
Generally under Renney, offensive players are given leeway to be creative and play to their strengths in the offensive zone. If the Oilers choose to keep pick No. 31 and Kabanov is still available, they could land themselves the steal of the draft.
With the draft less than four days away, teams for the most part have made up their minds on which direction they will go come the big day. But then again, naming a new head coach days before the draft is very unconventional. If Renney is in this for the long haul, the Oilers brass would best be served to rethink their draft board.
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